6 Little Things That Can Derail Your Teen’s Recovery

In many ways, recovery is a lifelong process. With it, there can be ups and downs or speed bumps along the way. Some days might be harder, while others might be exciting and encouraging. As your teen goes through their recovery journey, here are several small things that can derail their progress.

1. Triggers

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As your teen goes through their recovery, it will be important for them – and you – to learn how to identify and recognize their personal triggers. Put simply, a trigger is something that sets off a debilitating flashback which, in turn, can debilitate recovery. There are many different kinds of triggers and each person will have unique (and possibly multiple) ones specific to them. Examples include sounds, people, places, smells, words and phrases, touch or tastes.

2. Peer Pressure

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Particularly if your teen is recovering from addiction, their social world will likely have turned upside down. Friends or significant others they might have hung out with could have been – and continue to be – negative influences. Unfortunately, peer pressure can continue in these relationships and derail their recovery as a result. Therefore, it might be important for your teen to build new, supportive relationships if they desire lasting recovery.

3. Social Events

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It doesn’t just take encountering old friends for your teen to experience social pressure. In fact, any social event can potential derail recovery. If there is stress involved (ie: tense relationships), substances (ie: alcohol or drugs) or other temptations (ie: food) then it’s important to keep in mind the risk of triggering a relapse in these moments.

4. Stress

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Stress is a very common force that can push any of us into a negative space. We might sleep poorly, eat too much or too little and ultimately neglect our self care routine. This is certainly true for individuals in recovery as well. Whether it’s relationship, work or school stress, it’s important that your teen takes extra care to focus on their skills and strategies that helps them in their recovery.  It can even be helpful for your teen to have regular check-in times to assess their stress levels in case it starts to creep up without them realizing it.

5. Physical Changes

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Physical changes can be very overwhelming and it’s not uncommon for your teen to experience them, whether it’s ordinary puberty or as a result of their recovery. In fact, some people in recovery actually “replace” their substance indulgence with food indulgence which causes unexpected weight gain. Furthermore, if your teen is recovering from an eating disorder, they will likely gain back the weight that they lost, which can be very unsettling. These changes can be unwelcome, which can in turn derail your teen’s desire to focus on their recovery. Ultimately, it’s important to ensure that your teen has access to nutritious foods and a balanced eating plan. It’s also important to remind them that these changes are all part of the healing process.

6. Depression

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Depression, characterized by an overwhelming feeling of sadness, hopelessness and lack of motivation caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, can be very challenging to move past. As a result, if your teen experiences symptoms of depression, they might find that they fall back into old habits they were trying to recover from as a coping mechanism. As a result, it’s important to watch out for early signs of depression to help your teen get the professional support they need, particularly as they continue on their path towards holistic recovery.

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